The questions arise occasionally: How much running is too much? Is running actually bad for your health? Is it stressful on the heart? The questions aren't being asked by serious couch potatoes as an excuse to stay off their feet, but by health scientists, medical experts and long-distance runners who want to make sure they're making the right choices for their bodies.
Among the most curious are the increasing number of health- and fitness-minded individuals and groups attempting to return to our ancestors' roots. These people advocate a lifestyle based on how our hunter-and-gatherer ancestors supposedly lived thousands of years ago: Eating things like grass-fed meats, fish, nuts, seeds and fresh vegetables and fruits, which is the basis of the Paleo or "caveman" diet. In attempting to discern how our early relatives might have lived, people have turned their attention to distance-running and asked the question: Is it really natural? The reasoning is that our ancestors would have had no reason to run long distances – rather, they would need to run in short, intense sprints for the purpose of hunting.
So, is running actually bad for your health? That depends on who you ask. Most people agree that running reasonable distances is excellent exercise provided your body is well-fed and you're in good shape. But what about the endurance runners who seem to take it over the top? After all, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults get 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day – a far cry from the 10 miles a day that some people run. But getting exercise is very important – it reduces your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, Alzheimer's, obesity, heart disease and dementia, among other things.
However, according to Dr. James O'Keefe, the director of Preventative Cardiology at Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, we must impose healthy limits on our exercise:
"Your body is designed to deal with oxidative stress that comes from exercise for the first hour," O'Keefe said. "But prolonged intense exercise causes excessive oxidative stress, which basically burns through the antioxidants in your system and predisposes you to problems."
Thus, the best answer is to consult with your doctor to determine what amount of running is right for you. If you have knee or back problems, consider trying other high-intensity exercises like swimming or skating, which are easier on the joints.
Kids' lives these days seem almost more busy and scheduled than ours are or ever were. Whether you're chasing a toddler around the living room, playing t-ball with your preschooler or chauffeuring your pre-teens to after-school soccer practice, your life probably couldn't get much busier. Here are some exercises to boost your energy, get you ready for the day and help you keep up with the kids:
Kids are flexible little humans, so if you're going to play backyard soccer or tag with them, you need to keep up. Start your morning off right with these energizing stretches:
- Cat-Cow yoga pose: Lay a mat down on the floor and get on your hands and knees, with your knees in line with your hips and your hands aligned with your shoulders. As you inhale, lift your tailbone and head and push your stomach toward the floor. Exhale and drop your head, tuck your tailbone and arch your back toward the ceiling. Do 10 reps for a good back stretch, and remember to breathe deeply.
- Hamstring stretch: If you often have tight hamstrings, give them a nice stretch so you're ready to rock for the day. Lay on your back with your legs straight and your lower back and hips pressed into the mat. Then, lift your leg with your knee bent and hold it parallel to the floor. Stretch your leg straight up, keeping your hands behind your knee to make sure your leg is now perfectly perpendicular to the floor. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds before switching to the other leg. Do three repetitions.
- Neck and shoulder stretch: Sit on the floor with your back straight and your legs crossed. Keep your shoulders straight and tilt your left ear toward your left shoulder, feeling a pull. Hold for 20 seconds before doing the right side. Then, roll your shoulders back and forward to loosen up tight muscles.
Feel the burn
Some of the best exercises to keep up with the kids are squats. Here are two excellent variations:
- Split Squat: This gets your hips and thigh muscles ready for a long day. With feet shoulder-width apart and hands at your sides, take a step backward and drop into a lunge, moving slowly into it until your front knee is at a 90-degree angle. Hold it for a few seconds, then push yourself back up with your knees slightly bent. Do 20 reps on one side before switching to the next leg.
- Squat thrusts: These are good for your chest, triceps, hamstrings and quads. With your feet hip-width apart, squat and put your hands on the floor in front of your feet. Jump backward so you're in a pushup position, don one pushup and then jump back toward your hands and stand again. Do 10 reps on each side and this will surely get you ready for the day!
Proline-Rich Polypeptides are a mouthful to say, but if you don't know what they are, you probably should – especially with cold and flu season upon us. PRPs come from colostrum, the first milk of newly nursing cows, and PRPs are the component largely responsible for providing a quick dose of immunity to new calves.
PRPs are actually found in all other mammals' colostrum, and humans can benefit from bovine colostrum too. One good source of PRPs is Naturade's Proline-Rich Polypeptides with Colostrum Plus supplement, which is safe and effective for people of all ages. It's used to help balance the immune system and to provide a boost when you feel challenged or stressed. Naturade's PRP enriched colostrum product is antibiotic-, hormone- rBST- and pesticide-free. It comes as a powder that you mix into your morning or post-workout smoothie – 1/3 a scoop, twice per day. You can triple this amount if you're experiencing a time of increased stress.
Consider PRPs and colostrum to give your immune system a kick in the pants before winter rushes in!
It's that time of year again, when the leaves change to vibrant hues and the air turns crisp. It's also time to pick your perfect pumpkin for carving, painting, baking or whatever else you can think of. So head to a local pumpkin patch to find your perfect pumpkin and get a little exercise in the process!
Choose what ever type of pumpkin you like for carving! Some people want one with an even color and a perfectly round shape, while others prefer something with an interesting shape and some bumps and other things that give character. When on the hunt for your perfect pumpkin, just make sure to choose one with a flat bottom – though most of them are bred that way these days – to ensure it doesn't tip over!
Carving pumpkins have been bred to be very large. Thus, their flesh isn't always the best for eating as it's typically a bit watery and bland. For baking, choose a small pumpkin that is specifically called a "baking pumpkin," such as the sugar pie variety. You can make pumpkin pie or roast it for use in pasta with these small, dense baking pumpkins. They're good for your health – provided you don't pair them with too much sugar! You can also roast the seeds of carving or baking pumpkins for a healthy snack or addition to your trail mix.
Appetite suppression isn't something people should do frequently, but when you're taking the leap and making drastic changes to your diet, those cravings for potato chips and chocolate cake can be strong.
One thing that people swear by to make them fuller is drinking more water. In fact, many people don't take in as much water as their bodies need everyday, so this can be a good way to drink more. And H20 for appetite suppression isn't just an old wives' tale! In a 2010 clinical trial by the American Chemical Society, which was funded by the Institute for Public Health and Water Research, all participants were on low-calorie diets, but one group drank 2 cups of water before eating. After 12 weeks, the group who drank water before meals lost an average of 15.5 pounds, while the other group lost only an average of 11 pounds. Researchers think that the water made them feel more full, causing them to consume less calories.
Appetite suppression foods to try
Some good options are those low in fiber and/or high in fiber, including:
What are compression pants? If you love running, hate treadmills and plan to exercise outside even in the frigid winter temps, compression pants are your best friend.
Compression pants or tights fit very close to the body and are made of spandex-like materials that remove moisture – including sweat and wetness from rain or snow – away from the skin. This is very important for cold-weather running because it keeps you dry, and thus warm. Pants made of cotton will soak up moisture, making your body cold and trapping moisture against your skin, which can cause chafing. Choose pants that have minimal seams and aren't baggy.
Here are some other quick tips for cold weather running:
- Layer up so you can remove clothing if necessary.
- Buy layers with zippers at the neck and armpit areas so you can vent those spots and keep yourself dry.
- If it's raining, sleeting or snowing, wear an outer shell that keeps moisture out. Some people even recommend putting plastic baggies on your feet before putting running shoes on to keep your toes dry.
- Keep as much exposed skin covered as possible - wear a hat or headband and gloves.
- After your run, change immediately so your body can warm up. It's not good to sit around in damp clothing!
Maybe you started out as one of those people who never looked at food labels – you worked out frequently, had a stellar metabolism and ate what you liked. But now, your metabolism is catching up to you and you're pretty sure you eat too much sugar, so it's time to start checking out food labels.
Food labels can be a bit daunting, and they can be a lot of work to read every time you buy something new. But if you know the basics and focus on the ingredients you're most concerned about – which will be different for each person – you'll get a better idea about what processed products contain. Here are the basics for reading and interpreting a food label:
First, not the serving size. The calories, fat, cholesterol, sugars, protein, fiber and everything else are all based on one serving size as detailed by the Food and Drug Administration. So, for example, you might grab a bag of chips and skim down the fat and sodium levels and think "Hey, that's not bad!" But when you look at the serving size, you notice that the bag contains 2.5 servings … and you were planning to eat the entire bag of chips in one sitting.
The rest of the numbers can be deceiving if you don't first read the the serving size and notice how many servings are in each container of food.
Percent of daily value
Each aspect of the food measured on the label is expressed in grams and also percent daily value. The food labels are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, but some people need as many as 2,500 calories per day while others can eat less – or plan to eat less to lose weight.
Other measurements to note
Many things are measured on a food label, but here are other important ones to pay attention to:
- Calories and calories from fat
- Total fat, which also shows saturated and trans fats
- Various vitamins
At the bottom of the food label, the ingredients are also listed. Generally, the more ingredients a food item has, the less healthy it is for you. If you have food allergies, it's especially important to read this list carefully. Although the FDA requires that below the ingredient list, products state if they contain – or are produced in an environment with other products that contain – the most common food allergens, like wheat, soy, dairy, milk, eggs and nuts. Ingredients that many people believe should be avoided are high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, sodium nitrate and nitrite, BHA, sodium benzoate, food colorings and various others.
Athletes and everyone even marginally interested in fitness knows that it's important to consume protein after working out. Research by exercises scientists and others has shown that ingesting protein after a workout, in any form, is important for muscle synthesis and the prevention of muscle breakdown. In fact, some people believe that if you don't consume protein after your exercise, you're almost defeating the purpose. But how much protein is enough? And what is the optimal form of protein?
Most nutritionists and exercise scientists seem to agree that as long as you're consuming enough protein every day – which is up to 0.6 grams of protein per pound of body weight for adults looking to maintain muscle, and up to 0.8 grams for hardcore athletes consistently involved in strength training to build muscle – the amount you consume post-workout isn't too important. Generally, between 20 to 40 grams of post-workout protein is enough.
You should consume protein within an hour after working out for maximum benefits. It's important to eat varied protein sources, but whey protein powders like Naturade 100% Whey are optimal for post-workout protein as they work more quickly than whole food sources.
Simply put, candida is a dirty word. Candida is actually the scientific name for the fungus yeast, which can live everywhere – including in your body. Candida is most commonly found in the gut and mouth, and the natural flora – the good bacteria – in our bodies are good at keeping it in check.
However, when there is too much candida albicans – the most common type of this yeast - in the body, the overgrowth can cause infections known as candidiasis, which causes yeast infections in women (and less commonly, men) and thrush in the throat. Candidiasis can also cause itching and rashes on the skin. Invasive candidiasis is a very serious but less common infection that occurs when candida yeast enters the bloodstream and the fungus spreads to other parts of the body.
What causes candidiasis?
It can be caused by various things, including:
- Taking antibiotics
- Prolonged stress
- A diet high in sugar and refined carbs, which actually feed the candida
- Overuse of alcohol
What are some potential symptoms?
- Digestive issues like constipation, bloating and diarrhea
- Skin issues like eczema, hives, rashes and psoriasis
- Vaginal infections and itching, urinary tract infections
- Brain fog and difficulty concentrating
- Feeling worn down and having constant fatigue for unknown reasons
- Itchy ears and severe seasonal allergies
- Cravings for sugar and refined carbs
What can you do?
As candidiasis is caused by an imbalance in the digestive flora for various reasons, it's important to regain balance in the digestive tract by reducing the amount of candida there. One product to try is Naturade's Symbiotics Colostrum Plus Candida Formula, which promotes growth of healthy bacteria and helps the body maintain normal levels of candida albicans through the use of colostrum, lactoferrin and the probiotics lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. Colostrum is full of immune factors to support your overall health, and the probiotics support improved digestioni. Lactoferrin takes the iron from candida, which is vital to its growth.
Kids are a tricky bunch. Sometimes they're really picky eaters and you're not sure if they're getting all of the vitamins and nutrients they need. Luckily, because many of our foods are fortified today, most kids do get all of the essentials, according to the Mayo Clinic, and there's really no need for a multivitamin. However, if children are on restricted diets, have food allergies, suffer from chronic diseases or have been diagnosed with failure to thrive, they could need a doctor-recommended multivitamin. Here are the main nutrients in vitamins important for child health, along with their functions:
- Vitamin A: Supports bone growth and vision, protects the body against infection
- Vitamin D: Supports growth and bone mass, builds strong teeth and bones, helps the body absorb calcium and other minerals
- Vitamin E: Limits free radical production
- Vitamin C: Keeps gums healthy, boosts immune health and healing, helps repair and form cells in the body
- Zinc: Aids digestion and metabolism
- Iron: Makes hemoglobin that brings oxygen to the cells, prevents anemia
- Potassium: Helps control water balance in body and maintain blood pressure
- Magnesium: Keeps heart beats steady and supports immune system, muscle and nerve functions
- Calcium: Supports growth of strong bones and teeth
- Fatty acids: Support healthy brain function, vision and the cardiovascular system
Even the healthiest kids are prone to viruses going around, especially during flu season as they spend eight hours of their day in classrooms in close proximity to other kids. One great product to boost immune health is Symbiotics Colostrum Chewables by Naturade, which are made just for kids and come in three kid-friendly flavors: wild cherry, orange creme and pineapple. It uses Colostrum Plus® that is from the first milk of new mother cows, a nutrient-packed ingredient that may improve the immune system, along with other natural ingredients.